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How to Support Your Sales Team

diversity hiring sales strengths talent strategy team building team development Sep 24, 2018
A sales team that needs the support of administrative staff


Some years ago our CEO, Emily Melious, attended a seminar by bestselling author, Jeffrey Gitomer. It was packed full of valuable information, as evidenced by Emily's 8 pages of notes.

One thing Gitomer said stuck out to her in particular.

The title of the seminar was "Got Sales Attitude?" Gitomer spoke mostly on his book, Little Gold Book of "Yes!" Attitude. Thus, most of the room was not-surprisingly comprised of salespersons. 

Toward the end of his speech, Gitomer made a point that most salespeople hate paperwork, tracking, reports, etc. and should hire support staff to take care of the administrative end of the sales process. All of the heads in the room bobbled avidly in agreement. 

It's a simple concept: if you hate or aren't good at doing something, then don't. Instead, build a team of support that can pick up where you leave off.

Yet, the sales industry, in particular, often requires that one person BOTH sell (prospect, cold call, networking, make and close the deal) AND administrate (fill out tracking forms, write activity and performance reports, attend daily "check-in' meeting, keep a database of prospects). These high and conflicting demands quickly burn out salespersons, or make them bitter toward management for the exhausting and unrealistic expectations.

What are the keys to building an effective sales support team?

1: Diagnose your sales team's needs.

First and foremost, interview your current sales team. Determine their needs and stressors, where their time and talents are best used, and where a support team would come into play. Also, ask what activities drain their energy the most. 

2: Be sure the sales team and the support team can relate.

In most organizations, the sales and administrative staff might as well be speaking a different language. Their two approaches to work (and frankly, the world in general) are so opposite that a successful partnership is a rare occurrence. It is important to strike an effective balance of methods, rather than joining opposing forces. 

3: Find the right talent.

If your organization does not have the resources or capabilities to bring on new staff, look inside your organization for existing talent. Salespersons are natural negotiators. Allow them to barter their talents for the help of others (ie. "I will handle these phone calls if you will handle these files"). If there is flexibility within the job roles and responsibilities, then your employees will more naturally create a supporting/complementary relationship. 

It is undoubtedly extra effort on the front end, but establishing a team of support for your sales staff saves time and money in the long run, as it allows your sales force to do what it does best...sell!

Don't cripple your sales team and your business overall by requiring your salespersons to be all things to all people. 

Not sure where to begin? We're happy to help. We are experts in strategically coordinating teams to operate within their strengths.

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